Increasing demand for graphite, cobalt and manganese is
coinciding with a lack of sufficient supply to meet future
expectations, miners said at this year’s
Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC)
investors forum on energy materials and technologies,
writes Daniel Sekulich.
"Five or 10 years ago, there was no battery market for
graphite. Today, that market accounts for 25% of global demand
for the mineral," Brent Nykoliation, senior vice-president at
Toronto-based NextSource Materials, told delegates at the event
in Toronto, Canada, March 4-7.
This is causing a paradigm shift in the mainstream
automotive industry, he said, with established manufacturers,
such as General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford and others
accelerating their production of electric vehicles (EVs).
EVs are causing rapid change in the mining world, Trent
Hall, head of Toronto-based minerals company First Cobalt,
"In the next 18 months, every car company is going to have
an EV," Hall said. "This will inevitably lead to global supply
There are currently 25 major lithium-ion battery factories
planned or under construction around the world, each with a
capacity of more than 1GW of production, according to Robin
Goad, president and chief executive office of Ontario cobalt
miner Fortune Minerals.
"Thirteen of those will be in China, including the
world’s largest, the CATL [Contemporary Amperex
Technology Co Ltd] facility, which will be a 100GW [factory],"
But several presenters at the PDAC event believe that China
has a major supply problem.
Gregory Bowes, CEO of Northern Graphite, said that "China
may have reached peak graphite. We are going to reach
saturation point where battery demand [drives] prices quite a
bit higher than they are now."